Three-Time Olympian, Olympic Gold Medalist, Healthy Lifestyle Advocate and Gymnastics Academy Owner
Dominique Dawes is best known for her tremendous success as an Olympic gymnast who competed in three Olympic Games, winning team medals in all three Olympic Games becoming the only American gymnast to do so and has a permanent place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame. Fans across the nation and around the world remember her as a member of the gold medal winning “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she also won a bronze medal as she wowed the crowd with her stunning performance in the floor exercise, becoming the first female African-American gymnast to win an individual medal. She also earned a bronze medal with the U.S. team in the 1992 Barcelona Games and made a surprising comeback in the 2000 Sydney Games. On August 11th, 2010 the IOC awarded Dawes and her teammates from the 2000 Olympics with a team Bronze medal.
Dawes’ start in gymnastics began at the age of 6. Her first and only coach, Kelli Hill quickly realized her potential, and Dawes began competing at the age of 10. She burst into the international spotlight at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where she was one of the first African-American female gymnasts to compete and qualify to an Olympic Games through the Olympic trials in Baltimore, MD.
At these Games, she and her teammates captured a bronze medal. Fans will recall that she was the gymnast that wowed the audience with her unique ‘up-and-back’ tumbling pass that consisted of 11 skills, spanning from one end of the floor to the other. “I could never hear my floor music after that tumbling pass,” Dawes recalled. “The crowd would be cheering so loud; I would just have to dance to their cheers. It was an amazing feeling.”
Throughout her career, Dawes has won more National Championship medals than any other athlete, male or female, since 1963, as well as numerous World Championship medals. One of Dawes’ greatest feats came when she swept all four events and won the All Around title at the 1994 National Championships.
“Winning my first national title was exciting,” Dawes said. “I was struggling for over a month each and every day of practice leading up to the Nationals. I couldn’t stay on the balance beam to save my life. My consistency and confidence were failing. I am not sure if it was the pressure of the sport getting to me, but whatever it was, it made it difficult to stay focused on my goals. One day after practice, Mrs. Norman, a parent of a teammate, took me aside and said the kindest words to me. She didn’t add pressure or give me advice; she showed me compassion. To this day, her words still resonate in my head and inspire me to stay focused whenever times get tough. I learned then that saying the right words, at the right time, can lift someone’s spirit. I aspire to offer those same kind words to those that I come in contact with.”
Dawes is much more than an accomplished gymnast, though. After retiring from the sport to which she dedicated 18 years of her life, Dawes has found a new passion empowering others. She is an accomplished motivational speaker, speaking to audiences of hundreds and thousands on topics focusing on passion, leadership, teamwork, health, fitness and wellness. Dawes’ message empowers vast audiences, from corporate executives to small business owners, women’s organizations to youth service organizations, and high school to college-age students; her passion and energy is captivating and leaves a lasting effect on those she inspires.
Since Dawes’ first passion in life was gymnastics, she continues to educate those on the grassroots level. She hosts FUNdamentals with Dominique Dawes – one-day gymnastics clinics for competitive level gymnasts of all ages, with a focus on fundamentals, goal-setting, and mental toughness.
Dawes has teamed up with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted on the new Peacock series Golden, a docuseries about women’s gymnasts vying for a spot on the U.S. team heading to the Tokyo Olympics. The six-episode series tracks five hopefuls competing for four spots on the U.S. Olympic team.
Earlier this year, alongside a larger group of investors including Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush Hager, Dominique became part of the ownership group of the NWSL’s Washington Spirit.
Dealing with Olympic Pressure
The pressure of the Olympics is unimaginable. As an Olympian, mom of 4, and owner of the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy, hear why Dominique is proud of Simone Biles and her courage to speak up about mental health.
Success is a Journey, NOT a Destination
For Dominique Dawes winning Olympic gold is so much more than medals and accolades: it’s something she worked hard to achieve everyday en route to Olympic glory. Today she shares her personal and professional philosophy with audiences across the country. Called “D-3” – Determination, Dedication, Desire – it’s what gave her the strength and confidence to handle the professional and personal challenges in her life, to persevere amidst defeat and triumph in victory. In emotionally uplifting presentations, Dawes shows audiences how to use D-3 to reformulate negative situations into positive ones and turn obstacles into victories – all while clearly demonstrating that success is a journey, not a destination.
Envision: Reaching Your Full Potential
ENVISION is Dawes' signature, most uplifting and captivating message. It is also the title of her motivational line of products. ENVISION is an acronym for the 8 principles that helped Dawes become successful in and out of the athletic arena. She crafts this speech specifically to motivate and empower the audience to envision greatness in their own lives. The core focuses are passion, plan and perseverance.
Building a Strong Foundation for Success
Building a solid foundation was one of the keys to Dawes' success. Her emphasis on a solid foundation touches on multiples areas: from healthy lifestyle choices to developing positive self-esteem where she addresses issues such as peer pressures, productive attitudes and values. The audience will walk away empowered, motivated, and, more importantly, clear on what it takes to build a strong foundation worthy of your dreams.
Got D-3?: Determination, Dedication, Desire
D-3 became Dawes' personal motto when she was an Olympic athlete in the making. Fatigue, frustration and loss of focus was common is such a perfectionist sport. D-3 kept Dawes focused on what was going to allow her to stay on the path to success. She paints a vivid picture of moments in the gymnastics arena where D-3 inspired her to persevere through setbacks and struggles, sacrifices and insecurities, en route to Olympic Gold. D-3 has become a staple in Dawes' athletic and professional accomplishments. She inspires audiences to develop their own personal motto that will help define and direct them in life too!
The Mind is our Most Powerful Tool
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Dominique was simply outstanding!! What a dynamic and engaging speaker! She quickly connected with her audience and held them captive till the very end.
- Lee Hampton | Director of Multicultural Relations, Jackson Community College